On the one hand, this is an unlikely pairing, but on the other it makes perfect sense and I know this is a bold statement but I don’t recall a split release ever being this coherent or synergistic. ‘Time Without End’ sees Norwegian multi-instrumentalist Sylvaine team up with Canadian enigma Unreqvited, both pushing their respective boundaries to create an EP which not only sounds as though it is from one artist but flows as though it is a single track.
The first two of the four tracks are from Sylvaine who delivers a minimalistic interpretation of her more usual atmospheric post-metal. ‘No More Solitude’ has been around in different versions for a number of years, but this release gives Sylvaine the chance to re-visit it and capture a truly awe-inspiring version. Opening with a simple piano intro before being joined by haunting, captivating vocals, this is simple and yet effective, managing to build lush layers which unwittingly captivate the listener.
‘Falling’ is another emotive, stripped back track perhaps a little more subdued as it creates an emotional atmosphere with Sylvaine’s powerful yet vulnerable vocals as the clear focal point.
The second half of the EP is from Unreqvited and sees a morphing away from his usual post black metal style towards more symphonic, introspective and perhaps even orchestral passages. ‘Interwoven’ is augmented by vocals from Sylvaine, which have no lyrics that I could discern and instead saw them working as an additional layer of instrumentation. This symbiosis is extremely powerful and creates a mesmerising soundscape.
Unreqvited close the EP with ‘Fields Of Elysium’ which is an evocative instrumental piece. While it is subdued there is a subtle underlying air of malice loitering behind the warmth and comfort of the music.
This is an outstanding release and has been on pretty much constant repeat since I received it for review. There is something special that is beguiling and hypnotic, and if you are at all interested in the more atmospheric end of the spectrum, you should give this a go.
(9/10 Andy Pountney)